Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/saving-and-strengthening-languages-using-them-right-in--education-and-development/5020508/Language â€" both oral and written â€" is an essential driver in the process of individual and national development. But languages are living things; they need to develop, thrive, and be used effectively â€" and many need to be re-vitalized and even saved from an early death â€" in order for all people of the world, especially those most excluded and disadvantaged, to benefit from development. A dynamic, living language, in other words, is essential to the well-being and sustainability of any human society.
But languages are in trouble. Ninety-seven percent of the worldâ€™s people speak only 4% of its languages â€" which means that only 3% of the worldâ€™s people speak 96% of its languages Â(Russell, 1996). Linguists and development agencies alike estimate that perhaps 50% â€" and maybe many more â€" of the worldâ€™s 6,000 or so living languages will fall out of use over the next hundred years. UNESCOâ€™s most recent estimate (2009) indicates that some 2,500 languages are endangered (some seriously so), with 230 extinct in the last 60 years. Linguistic diversity â€" as with cultural diversity and biological diversity â€" is under serious threat around the world.
So What Would be the Loss?
The worldâ€™s small, ethnic-minority language communities ...